Niagara Sustainability Initiative’s Carbon Project sets reduction goals amid hesitation by federal government

Another local business has proved that despite the potential difficulties, business and sustainability can go together. The Niagara Sustainability initiative have announced that Beattie’s Basics, a local and independent office supply company, has recently joined the ranks of “CO2 Warrior,” by reducing its carbon emissions.

This status, also referred to as a “committing member” of the initiative, was achieved by setting a carbon reduction target of twenty per cent below their baseline emissions as a part of the Niagara Sustainability Initiative’s Carbon Project. Committing members to the project include Brock University and Niagara College, as well as other local businesses such as Quartek Group, a design firm in downtown St Catharines, and Water Superstore, a water purification company on Fourth Avenue.

The Initiative says that their project, with its 25 members in the Niagara Region, has committed to reducing 2982 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from the atmosphere. This new addition has added 50 tonnes to that commitment, what the Carbon Project calls the “equivalent to the emissions sequestered by 71,285 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.”

Canada’s carbon emission reduction goals may be ‘impossible.’/Getty

This initiative is a not-for-profit organization. Their goal is “tohelp businesses identify, understand and reduce their carbon footprint to become more sustainable both environmentally and economically.” They are supported, along with seven other Ontario members, by Sustainability CoLab.

Liberal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced a re-commitment to old carbon emission targets set by the Harper government —to reduce GHG emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030— rather than an increase. The National Post reports that Canada’s current emissions trends indicate that the country will not actually come anywhere near meeting these 2030 goals.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the lack of ambitious carbon goals by the Liberal government “nothing short of a disaster for the climate.”

Canada has so far failed to ratify the Paris Agreement, an environmental agreement to reduce carbon emissions by 17 per cent by 2020, a goal considered by experts to be impossible for Canada. The European Union ratified the agreement on September 30, and India did the same on October 3, bringing the total number of countries who have ratified up to 62.

Amin Asadollahi, the lead for climate change mitigation for North America at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, told that, “at the end of the day, as much as the goals and targets matter, what matters most is reducing emissions.” Asadollahi also emphasized that setting impossible goals and not meeting them does not make a difference.

While the federal government focuses on carbon emissions and sustainability for the entire country, the Niagara Sustainability Initiative and their Carbon Project focus on what local businesses can do for themselves and for the environment.

“Through improving the sustainability of their operations and facilities, Carbon Project members are acquiring a competitive edge through sustainability as they ensure that their organization is better able to adapt and thrive in the uncertain environmental, economic, and social conditions of the future,” says the company on their website. As Canada as a whole pushes toward tougher environmental goals, Niagara businesses are getting a head start.

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